Bridgend's Jamie Murphy holds off Bristol's Luke Eves
Bridgend Ravens went down to a clinical but ill-disciplined Bristol as the English side ran out 8-32 winners at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field.
The visitors clinched a bonus point and remain top of Pool 1 and unbeaten in the British & Irish Cup, thanks to tries from Alafoti Fa'Osiliva, George Watkins and two from pacey winger Matt Williams.
Rhys Ward Jones grabbed the late consolation score for the Ravens at the end of a second half that saw referee Kieran Barry hand out four yellow cards.
Bridgend had the better of the opening possession and territory and showed some enterprising play early on but failed to register anything on the scoreboard. As a result of this and somewhat against the run of play, the visitors got the first try of the game when Fa'Osiliva powered his way over the line after a strong driving lineout. Adrian Jarvis converted for the first of his 12 points of the afternoon and suddenly the Ravens found themselves 0-7 down.
Jamie Murphy slotted over a gift of a penalty minutes later to reduce the gap to four points but Jarvis cancelled out his effort and added another three on the half-hour mark. The Ravens' defence showed some great determination minutes later to survive a powerful Bristol drive and ensure that the gap was a manageable 10 points when the half-time whistle arrived.
The gap was distinctly less manageable just seconds into the second period. Bristol scrum half Tom Slater picked up from the base of a ruck and noticed the space on the blind side, accelerating left and presenting the ball to winger Watkins to touchdown in the corner.
The next 10 minutes saw Bridgend pushing to find a way back into the game and forcing Bristol to concede several penalties. Murphy broke through a gap to send a ripple of anticipation through the stand but his support was limited and the Bristol defence soon reorganised to close down the danger. When the resulting scrum broke down, referee Barry lost his patience with the visitors and went to his pocket to send Gaston Cortes to the bin. It was to be the Argentinian's last contribution to the game, as he failed to re-take the field when his 10 minutes were up.
Being reduced to 14 didn't appear to worry the men in red and white as they scored their third try of the match five minutes later. Speedster Williams looked to have aimed for a gap that didn't exist but the winger somehow shrugged his way through and showed a clean pair of heels to cross the whitewash in the corner.
Bristol hooker Rhys Lawrence and Ravens scrum half Tom Habberfield both felt the wrath of the referee with 20 minutes remaining and the extra space again seemed to benefit the English side. The Bristol scrum had looked extremely powerful all afternoon and after winning another against the head, replacement scrum half James Grindal spotted the space that Williams was in and handed him the ball for the winger to secure the bonus point with an exuberant dive in the corner.
Williams would have been forgiven for taking the last 10 minutes easy but when Ravens' winger Luke Morgan sped through a gap and looked certain to score, it was the Bristol number 11 that sprinted from the other side of the pitch to prevent the try.
As the Bridgend forwards worked hard to keep the pressure up, Jack Tovey became the third Bristol player to receive a yellow card but soon afterwards, Ward Jones showed some great skill to restore some pride to the home dressing room.
Bridgend Ravens (3) 8
Try: R Ward Jones Pen: J Murphy
Bristol Rugby (13) 32
Try: A Fa'Osiliva, G Watkins, M Williams 2 Con: A Jarvis 3 Pen: A Jarvis 2
Bridgend Ravens: B Thomas, L Morgan, N Edwards, S Campbell, A Evans, J Murphy, T Habberfield, K Dowding, A James, J Thomas, S O'Rourke, A Jones, A Waite, J Vaughan (c), S Hicks
Subs: C Francis for S O'Rourke (69), G Carpenter for K Dowding (76), L Davies for A Jones (59), A Ellis for A Waite (68), S Winn, R Ward Jones for T Habberfield (74), C Williams for B Thomas (63)
Bristol Rugby: J Tovey, G Watkins, L Eves, B Mosses, M Williams, A Jarvis, T Slater, K Traynor, R Lawrence, G Cortes, B Glynn, G Townson, I Grieve (c), M Mama, A Fa'Osiliva
Subs: T Channon for J Tovey then R Lawrence (59 then 78), M Lilley for K Traynor (69), W Thompson for A Fa'Osiliva then G Cortes (51 then 59), G Biagi for G Townson (57), M Eadie for M Mama (78), J Grindal for T Slater (61), T Roberts for B Mosses (69)
Sin-bin:Bridgend: T Habberfield (60) Bristol: G Cortes (49), R Lawrence (57), J Tovey (78)
The WRU's Women and Girls legacy events - #TRY OUR GAME have proved popular this week with current players and newcomers to the game learning new skills and picking up tips from national squad players.
We caught up with Shona and Ellie from the Wales women team ahead of the start of the Women's Rugby World Cup in Paris next month at a recent women's training session to encourage and promote more women and girls to try their hand at rugby. #tryourgame
We hear from the Wales camps in South Africa and New Zealand, as well as the EGM, in this week's principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. Defence coach Shaun Edwards and forwards coach Robin McBryde look ahead to the Springboks, Angus O'Brien and Mark Taylor look back at heartbreak for Wales Under 20s, while group chief executive Roger Lewis and chairman David Pickering face the Welsh press after being vindicated at the EGM.
Cross Keys flanker Scott Matthews capped off a fine season when he won the last Principality Premiership Player of the Month award before a surprise visit by Alun-Wyn Jones saw him crowned Best Newcomer of the Year.
Pontypridd's dominance in this year's Principality Premiership was reflected in last night's Awards evening held at the Millennium Stadium where Paul John, Geraint Walsh claimed individual awards while Ponty picked up the Fair Play award as well.
WRU TV's Liz Jones has to contend with an enthusiastic PA as she interviews victorious Pontypridd coach Paul John after he guided his side to victory in the Principality Premiership final at Sardis Road.
Cross Keys head to Sardis Road on Sunday showing no fear as they face Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership Play-off Final. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie gets the low-down from both camps before the big game.
Defending Principality Premiership champions Pontypridd are chasing an unprecedented double double this Sunday at Sardis Road when they host Cross Keys who are gunning for revenge after being brushed aside in the SWALEC Cup final.
500 days to go to Rugby World Cup and SWALEC Finals Day on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. WRU chairman David Pickering and First Minister Carwyn Jones look ahead to the Rugby World Cup, while we hear from all three winners on SWALEC Finals Day, Pontypridd's Dafydd Lockyer, Merthyr's Lee Jarvis and Clwb Rygbi Caerdydd's Gareth Williams, as well as former Wales wing Simon Hill on coaching his village team Llantwit Major.
Carmarthen Quins or Cross Keys are just 80 minutes away from taking on Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership final - but first they have to win Sunday's semi-final play-off at Carmarthen Park (KO 5.30pm).
Hear from all six clubs at SWALEC Finals Day on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Pontypridd's Dafydd Lockyer, while former coach Dale McIntosh reflects on their British and Irish Cup campaign. Cross Keys backs coach Morgan Stoddart and Wales U20 outside half Angus O'Brien on their challenge. Merthyr's Lee Jarvis and Rhiwbina's Gareth Lintern look at their Plate Final. Clwb Rygby Caerdydd's Owain Tudur and Llantwit Major's Shaun Shea on the Bowl Final. Former Llantwit Youth player Dafydd Hewitt of the Blues also looks forward to the game.
It's crunch time at both ends of the Principality Premiership where Cross Keys and Carmarthen Quins are chasing a home tie in the play-offs while Aberavon and Swansea are attempting to avoid the drop. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie and Will Thomas preview the action.